Dignity in Dying’s report, released on Monday 13th November, shone a light where too few policy makers have dared to look. With no other safe option, many people in this country experience unimaginable suffering at the end of their lives. The findings are shocking, but they offer only a glimpse of what is a deep well of anguish.
Over 80% of Britons support a change in the law, but this report highlights how our outdated legislation discriminates between rich and poor, discourages proper conversations between patients and their doctors, criminalises grieving relatives who spend time with their loved ones in their dying moments and obliges people to end their lives before they are ready.
With the USA, Canada, Australia and several European countries all having grasped the nettle of assisted dying, our lack of action in the face of profound suffering will be a black mark against us in years to come.
It’s time that the UK stopped outsourcing its compassion to Switzerland and began listening to dying people who want and need the most basic choice they will ever face.